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Joplin, Missouri Facts:
- County: Jasper, Newton
- Coverage Area (Total): 31.5 sq. miles
- Elevation: 1,004 ft.
- Population: 51,186
- Cities/Towns covered in local Names and Numbers Phone Book: Carl Junction, Carterville, Duenweg, Joplin, Oronogo, Webb City
Joplin was established in 1873 and named after Reverend Harris Joplin, an early settler and founder of the area's first Methodist congregation. Although lead was discovered in the Joplin area before the Civil War, zinc was the city's most economically impactful mineral resource. By the turn of the century, rail lines and new business construction had helped Joplin become the lead and zinc mining capital of the world.
In the early 1900s, the Carnegie Library (1902) and Electric Theater (1930) were built as a way of adding cultural amenities to Joplin. In 1933, the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde were nearly apprehended in the city, but escaped after killing two local authority members. And, after World War II, once most of the mines were closed, the primary east/west road through Joplin was designated as part of U.S. Route 66.
In May 2011, an EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 people. The tornado also destroyed approximately 8,400 homes, 18,000 vehicles, and 450 businesses. In July 2011, reconstruction efforts began as part of a five-year, $800 million plan to rebuild the area. Along with rebuilding residences and senior/assisted living facilities, additional projects were approved to construct a $40 million performing and cultural arts center, rebuild/expand the public library, and renovate the historic downtown Union Depot.
Joplin maintains a variety of attractions including: